The Attorney’s General Chamber (AGC) has on Monday (10 Apr), filed a Criminal Reference to the Court of Appeal (CA) to address questions of law of public interest that have arisen out of the High Court’s decision on the case of former City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders.
The High Court had, on Friday (7 Apr) reduced the sentences of all six former leaders after it determined that the original charge of aggravated CBT (Criminal Breach of Trust as an Agent) under Section 409 of the Penal Code was inappropriate and replaced it with a simpler CBT charge under Section 406. [ link ]
As such, jail sentences for the six were massively reduced by up to 50%.
- Kong Hee: From 8 years to 3 years and 6 months.
- Tan Ye Peng: From 5½ years’ to 3 years and 2 months.
- Chew Eng Han: From 6 years to 3 years and 4 months.
- Serina Wee Gek Yin : From 5 years to 2½ years.
- John Lam Leng Hung: From 3 years to 1½ years.
- Sharon Tan Shao Yuen: From 21 months to 7 months.
The High Court held that Kong Hee and his gang were not agents simply by virture of them being directors of CHC.
In its statement, AGC said that it has carefully considered the written grounds and is of the view that there are questions of law of public interest that have arisen out of the High Court’s decision, including and in particular, whether a director or a member of the governing body of a company or organisation who is entrusted with property, or with any dominion over property, is so entrusted in the way of his business as an agent for the purposes of section 409 of the Penal Code.
If the CA agrees with the Prosecution’s submissions, the Prosecution intends to request that the CA exercises its powers under section 397(5) to reinstate the appellants’ original convictions under section 409 of the Penal Code and make necessary and consequential orders in relation to the sentences given.
Section 397(5) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC)
Under section 397(5) of the CPC, the CA, in hearing and determining any questions referred to it, may make such orders as the High Court might have made as the CA considers just for the disposal of the case.
In a nutshell
Plainly put, should the CA agrees with the Prosecution’s submission that a director qualifies as an agent, then the Prosecution is going to request that the CA reinstate the original aggravated CBT charges against the six former leaders and sentence them according.
Coffee shop gossips has it that the CA would most likely agree with the Prosecution’s submission and the sentences for the six will be reinstated to the ones meted by the States Court.
What do you think?